Barack Obama's Middle East policy巴拉克.奥巴马的中东政策
From Oslo to Benghazi从奥斯陆到班加西
A Nobel prizewinner’s voyage of discovery 一个诺贝尔和平奖获得者的发现之旅
WHEN he collected his Nobel peace prize from Oslo in December 2009, Barack Obama acknowledged the oddity of receiving such an honour while commanding the American-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also made it plain that the use of force might be justified on humanitarian grounds—as, in his view, it had been in the Balkans in the 1990s. To that extent, at least, he had prepared the ground for Libya. It has nonetheless come as a shock to many Americans to find themselves plunged so abruptly into a new war in an Arab country. How did that peaceable Mr Obama get them into this?
From the very beginning of his presidency Mr Obama had little choice but to run an active policy in the Middle East. He needed to extricate American forces from Iraq (the better to prosecute the war in Afghanistan); he faced the continuing challenge of Iran’s suspected nuclear-weapons programme; he had to carry on the fight against al-Qaeda; and, like many presidents, he inherited an explosive stalemate in Palestine. But to these pressing practical demands he added a broader aspiration: repairing the damage done by George Bush’s reaction to the attacks of September 11th 2001 on America’s relations with the Muslim world, especially with the Arabs.
In June 2009 Mr Obama gave voice to the aspiration in a speech in Cairo, where he was the guest of the then dictator, Hosni Mubarak. He told his eager audience that he was seeking “a new beginning” based on “mutual interest and mutual respect”. He also spoke at length about democracy, and the controversy generated by America’s push for it in the wake of the Iraq war. Mr Obama’s argument was that “no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other”. America did not presume to know what was best for everyone. But that did not lessen his commitment “to governments that reflect the will of the people”.